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QB: Traveling & Running


kenziii 7 / 35  
Sep 16, 2009   #1
This is for Questbridge, due September 30th. I also need a third essay, so if you could which prompt the first essay fits better that would be fabulous. The second is brand new with organization and cohesion issues.

Prompt 1: We are interested in learning more about you and the context in which you have grown up, formed your aspirations and accomplished your academic successes. Please describe the factors and challenges that have most shaped your personal life and aspirations. How have these factors caused you to grow? (800 word limit)

Prompt 2: Write on ONE of the following topics. (500 word limit)

A range of academic interests, personal perspectives, and life experiences adds much to the educational mix. Given your background, please describe an experience that illustrates what you would bring to the diversity in a college community, or an encounter that demonstrated the importance of diversity to you.

ESSAY ONE:

Looking at photos of my childhood, one would see that the carefully manicured sets of school pictures are noticeably absent. Far more prominent are the scores of pictures of a wild haired child, so grubby one can barely tell the difference between her dark skinned peers. That youngster is me, with that purple hat and blue windbreaker among scores of mountain children in traditional Turkish dress. Small bodies and wide grins are all that we can relate with, but such methods of communication prove to be enough. This is one snapshot out of numerous global adventures; experiences that have fostered a love of people, travel, and learning.

My parents have given me the gift of acceptance and boundless curiosity. During my childhood we traversed from Amsterdam to Istanbul with bikes, a tent, and little else save the clothes on our backs over the course of five months. We lived with families in Mexico, camped beside dirt tracks where a few steps astray led into utter wilderness, and stayed the night with utter strangers in the Tatra Mountains of Poland. These experiences provided me with a glimpse into other worlds that guided tours cannot even being to touch. It did not strike me as odd to see women covered from head to toe or half-naked children running with stray dogs in the dusty streets. I was one of those children, communicating in smiles and mimes; we required nothing more. We reveled in our youth, ceaseless energy, and seeking minds.

My life experiences are a mere glimpse through the keyhole of the world. There is so much to learn, to understand. There is so little time to absorb everything; I want to fling open that door, letting that knowledge and culture spin about me. I crave to know the traditions and languages of the world and offer these precious gems to others. I am still full of childish idealism, yearning to build bridges between the peoples of the world.

Prompt 3: Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you. (500 word limit)

ESSAY TWO:

I am not an athlete. In sixth grade I broke my wrist in a game of kickball while attempting to catch a ball in the outfield. I've always been a somewhat puny human specimen, the kind that gets tired walking up stairs. So, why do I now find myself running five miles?

The sun beats down with wet heat as my feet batter the black pavement. I am rather confident that I am baking from my soles upwards and my flushed face coordinates perfectly with my red shirt. The school athletic trainer says my arch is falling; the fact that the stabbing pain in my foot has a medical explanation is poor consolation. My forehead does not sparkle; it drips shining rivulets which quickly soak into my damp T-shirt. The sound escaping from my lips is akin to a chain smoker after a quick dance with strangulation.

You see, I am not officially part of the cross country team. I am the manager. Indeed, I initially started running to convince the slowest girl on the team that she is in fact, not. But, as I pushed myself further than I had ever physically gone, I was hooked. The feel of success after grinding ambition to the bone; the sense of accomplishment that every fiber of my body had worked for and achieved. I am running not because running fills me with glee, far from it. I am running because I enjoy pushing myself to the limit and further, of working beyond my capabilities and attaining my goals.

During most of my high school career I let my body become a decrepit thing while nurturing my mind. And while I can't promise I will continue running for the rest of my life, I know that I have put my mind to something I thought impossible and made it a reality. It's a parallel to how I succeed, with small strides towards the ultimate finish. I will never lose that feeling or my determination.

When I first began running, most of the team had been training over the summer. I, on the other hand, spent my summer traveling or doing indoor volunteer work. My body was not at all pleased with the sudden toil and the contents of my stomach observed the world on a variety of occasions. I am now past nausea and my body has settled on bequeathing oceans of moisture. But I am not giving up, and in running, that is all it takes.

So I have come to the realization that there is something inside me beyond body and mind, because both are screaming at me to collapse. Some force keeps me moving. I can do this. I am certainly not the best, not even close. That is not the point. I am going to keep putting one foot in front of the other until I make that five mile mark. And I have never felt worse, or better as I sprint for the freedom of the finish.

{Below is a little tidbit I didn't know where to put, but it seems worthwhile perhaps as a reflextion on my character and why I started running..?}

It helps to run with someone for encouragement, or commiseration. My partner is in better physical shape than I am, but keeping her running gives me the strength to finish those last miles. Coaxing her through her pain alleviates my own discomfort.

EF_Simone 2 / 1,986  
Sep 17, 2009   #2
I think that the first essay fits the second prompt best. It's very colorful, but watch out for a tendency to "over write" -- to be too wordy while showing off your writing skills.

I have only one quibble with that essay:

where Hispanics are not shunned but welcomed for the loving and generous people they are

"Hispanics" is rather too large a population to be characterized as being any particular way, including loving and generous. In other words: Positive stereotypes are stereotypes too; all should be avoided.

The second essay is fine, but not as strong. I dislike your over-use of the "is not" formulation in that one.

Still, overall, this is a strong set of essays. I look forward to seeing the third.
thinhtvdhtm 41 / 97  
Sep 17, 2009   #3
i think your essays quite good
macca 3 / 15  
Sep 18, 2009   #4
During most of my high school career I let my body become a decrepit thing while nurturing my mind. And while I can't promise I will continue running for the rest of my life, I know that I have put my mind to something I thought impossible and made it a reality.

Somehow I feel that this paragraph holds back this essay a bit. You write that you leave sports as you nurture your mind, so I assume the other stories about running is before high school? I don't think this kind of 'degradation' of sport involvement is the right image you want to show. CMIIW :)

Overall, I really enjoy your essays! They provide good look at your personality and your writing style is enjoyable to read.


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